Crank that S#!t Up
Perfect World Beta
Life After DX 11
AMD Contest Group
Final Round FiringSquad-Intel Edito...
Round 3 Editors Challenge Sponsored...
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Screenshot Contest
Top 10 Challenge Round Sponsored by...
Editors Challenge Sponsored by Inte...
FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round...
Synchronous Failure (1147)
||23 entry(ies) in this category
| Windows Vista: The Future of PC Gaming (Part One) (8 comments )|
by: jacobvandy (1636) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 1
Posted 76 months ago ( edited 76 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
Finally, Windows Vista has arrived. More than simply the next installment of Microsoft's incredibly successful line of operating systems, it represents a giant leap in their plan to revolutionize PC gaming. In this first installment, I explore two of Microsoft's major initiatives that they hope will generate new interest in and breathe new life into the PC games industry.
|» MEDIA (3)|
» GAMES FOR WINDOWS
The "Games for Windows" program attempts to make gaming on a computer more accessible and enjoyable, for casual and hardcore gamers alike. Participating developers are allowed to use the Games for Windows branding and package design, which lends a uniform appearance that console gamers are used to. They can also submit their games to Microsoft for extended quality testing and representation in a multi-million dollar advertisement campaign. Not to mention, the games will be prominently displayed on the thousands of demo kiosks being installed in stores across the nation. No longer will PC gamers have to muddle through the productivity software in the back aisle to find the title they want.
What does a developer have to do to join up, you ask? For starters, it is completely free. All that Microsoft requests is that a Game for Windows must abide by a few simple guidelines:
• It must be compatible with 32- and 64-bit versions of XP and Vista. With 64-bit processors becoming the mainstream, an increasing number of people are moving toward 64-bit operating systems. This requirement ensures that, no matter which flavor of Windows you choose, the game will work. It is also comforting to know that you won't be left out in the cold if you decide to stick with XP for a while longer.
• It must appear in Vista's Games Explorer. The new Games Explorer is much like a media library for your games. It shows box art, performance rating requirements, content ratings, options for parental controls, and metadata such as genre, version number, and release date. It allows you to organize your games by multiple criteria, including name, the last time you played, publisher, and developer. The toolbar even includes links to associated web sites, hardware and device options, and save-game folders.
• It must support Vista's parental controls. Another new feature in Vista, Parental controls allow you to set restrictions on internet, program, and game usage for Standard user accounts. You can decide which games are appropriate for each user, at what times they can play and for how long, or if they are even allowed to play games at all. You can also block access to games according to ESRB ratings and/or content descriptors.
• If it supports game pads, it must support the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows. Some may consider it blasphemous, but a sizable group of gamers simply prefer to use a game pad. It is important for those that do to be able to go out and purchase a controller that is guaranteed to work with their games. While wired Xbox 360 controllers are inherently USB-compatible, an adapter that allows the use of the wireless variant is available now.
• It must support multiple aspect ratios and resolutions, including 4:3, 4:5, and 16:9. Widescreen displays are more popular than ever, yet some games do not support widescreen resolutions. This is one complaint that may be answered, at last.
• It must provide easy installation and removal. While it is not yet possible to simply insert a game disc and play, a la consoles, making games easier to install is definitely a step in the right direction. CD keys may be a necessary evil, and advanced options like specifying the installation directory should still be available, but it would accommodate many if installing a game was a one-click affair.
Of course, not all games and developers are held to these guidelines. Such is the freedom that the Windows PC as a gaming platform has offered for years. However, Microsoft urges all developers to consider them, reasoning that a strong, unified direction is in the industry's best interests.
Now, what does this mean to you? If the campaign is a success, it should lead to increased PC game sales, which should lead to more and better games in the future. Increased quality control would definitely be appreciated, as I am sure all of us could think of at least a few games that would have benefited from such. If system requirements are a concern, you may be interested to hear that determining if a game will run may soon become incredibly simple. Windows Vista includes a hardware performance rating system that tests your CPU, RAM, graphics card, and hard drive, assigning a simple numeric score for each. The lowest of these sub-scores is considered your system's overall performance rating. Eventually, you should be able to check the back of the game box for the minimum and recommended performance ratings. No more worrying about what the Pentium equivalent of your Athlon processor is!
Bottom line: "Games for Windows" will bring quality, accessibility, and standardization to the PC games market.
» LIVE FOR WINDOWS
Another component of Microsoft's scheme to breathe life into PC gaming, Live for Windows (previously known as Live Anywhere) will bring all the services of Xbox Live to desktop computers and mobile devices. PC gamers will get their own gamertag, maintain a friends list, and be able to earn points toward their gamerscore, all of which is completely integrated into the already existing Xbox Live network. Of course, the most exciting aspect of this is the ability to play against Xbox 360 players on any game designed to be cross-platform. Unfortunately, Halo 2 will not be one of those titles. The first title planned for cross-platform interaction is the cyberpunk FPS/RPG "Shadowrun."
Bringing the most successful online gaming service to Windows will hopefully create a much-needed sense of cohesion among PC gamers. Needless to say, there are several services (GameSpy, Steam, Xfire, etc.) that attempt to unite several games and their communities, providing matchmaking, chatting, and content distribution services, but none of them do as well, across the board, as we would like. Live for Windows represents an all-encompassing solution, and while no pricing has been announced yet, I am sure many people would gladly pay if it meets expectations.
Live for Windows enables you to find other players base on several criteria, like skill level, gamerscore, and even the style in which you prefer to play. You can see if any of your friends are online and if they are, whether or not they are playing a game and which platform they are on. From there, you can send a message, invite them to join your game, or initiate voice chat.
The first version will not be without its quirks, requiring you to be running a supported game in order to access your account, much like the Live service for the original Xbox. Microsoft plans to create a more practical solution, hopefully soon, that will be independent of the games.
Bottom line: "Live for Windows" brings one of the most successful online gaming services to the PC gaming platform.
Be sure to stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of WINDOWS VISTA: THE FUTURE OF PC GAMING, which will include all the details on DirectX 10 and why you should be excited about it!
|10 User Comment(s) • 10 root comment(s)|
| Anonymous (-) Mar 08, 2007 - 02:40 am|
|This doesn't fix any of the problems with PC Gaming. Where's a framerate and |
visual standard for the lowest end common hardware on the market? What about a policy that keeps PC Games from clogging up your PC with useless spyware?
Why doesn't Microsoft do something that helps them make money in the longrun instead of asking us to buy a stupid OS that probably won't work or help any of the problems we have anyway.
» Login to reply to this
| Anonymous (-) Mar 08, 2007 - 12:02 am | Edited on Mar 08, 2007 - 12:03 am|
|» Multiple Aspect Ratios|
Doesn't MS realize why supporting multiple aspect ratios is so difficult? I guess whoever came up with this requirement hasn't done any 3D level design?
If you have to change FOV for multiple aspects your game winds up looking like crap in one of them. Think of what happens when you change the FOV in a typical shooter from 70 or 90 to 120.
I guess it is inevitable, but it shouldn't be mandatory because for first person 3D games it's going to be a problem. It's going to make PC game development even more expensive.
» Login to reply to this
| Petria (1) Feb 09, 2007 - 09:34 pm|
|» Great job|
Great article. Easy to read, easy to understand, lots of information in a format that is easy to comprehend.
» Login to reply to this
» Note: You need to be logged in to write a comment!Login here, or if you don't have an account with FiringSquad, register here, it's FREE!
My Media-Blog categories
No categories created yet.